Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences & UBC Division of Respiratory Medicine
Respiratory Evaluation Sciences Program

Research Theme COPD

Excess economic burden of comorbidities in COPD: a 15-year population-based study


A better understanding of the true burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) needs to consider the implications of comorbidities. This study comprehensively examined the impact of comorbidities on excess direct medical costs in COPD patients.

From health administrative data in British Columbia, Canada (1996–2012), we created a propensityscore-matched cohort of incident COPD patients and individuals without COPD. Health services use records were compiled into 16 major disease categories based on International Classification of Diseases codes. Excess costs (in 2015 Canadian dollars and converted to 2015 Euros; CAD1.000=EUR 0.706) were estimated as the adjusted difference in direct medical costs between the two groups.

The sample included 128424 subjects in each group. COPD patients generated excess costs of CAD5196/EUR3668 per person-year (95% CI CAD3540–8529), of which 26% was attributable to COPD itself and 51% was attributable to comorbidities (the remaining 23% could not be attributed to any specific condition). The major cost driver was excess hospitalisation costs. The largest components of comorbidity costs were circulatory diseases, other respiratory disorders, digestive disorders and psychological disorders (CAD696/EUR491, CAD312/EUR220, CAD274/EUR193 and CAD249/EUR176 per person-year, respectively).

These findings suggest that the prevention and appropriate management of comorbidities in COPD patients may effectively reduce the overall burden of COPD.



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